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Penn State Hockey: Nittany Lions Fall 4-1 To Western Michigan

by on December 31, 2014 1:00 PM

Penn State's men's hockey team couldn't overcome a sluggish opening two periods in a 4-1 loss to Western Michigan Tuesday night at CONSOL Energy Center in the Three Rivers Classic.

Nittany Lion Curtis Loik scored the only Penn State goal on the night and his fourth of the year.

In the teams’ first meeting on the ice, Western Michigan (7-9-2, 2-6-2-2 NCHC) went ahead 1-0 after only 7:22 on a Sheldon Dries tally. Nolan LaPorte went behind his back to feed Dries in the slot as he wristed home his ninth of the year. Western Michigan out-shot Penn State 10-9 in the frame.

The second period didn't go much better. A penalty less than a minute into play gave Western Michigan a man advantage and Aidan Muir scored his third of the season after just 24 seconds with the man advantage.

Despite the Nittany Lions out-shooting Western Michigan 16-12 in the period, the Broncos led PSU, 2-0. Colton Hargrove took a failed Penn State clearance into the slot, spun around and fired a wrister that sneaked by Skoff for a 3-0 lead with 5:02 left in the period.

Penn State came to life when the defensive pairing of Luke Juha and Erik Autio combined to set up the Nittany Lions' only goal less than four minutes into the third period.

The Nittany Lions continued their momentum, registering eight of the first 13 shots of the period. Nevertheless, a give-and-go between Muir and Kovacs allowed Muir to tally his second of the game, third of the tournament and fourth of the year with 8:38 remaining.

Penn State netminder Matthew Skoff (24 saves) gave way to PJ Musico, who made his season debut and had four stops.

The Nittany Lions will go on a short break before playing Ohio State on Jan. 9 back at the Pegula Ice Arena for the first home conference game of the season and first home game since October.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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